By Wednesday John Brennan, US President Barack Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism made a quick trip to Israel to discuss Hezbollah’s massacre of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria last week.

Hopefully it was an instructive meeting for the senior US official, although his Israeli interlocutors were undoubtedly dumbstruck by how difficult it was to communicate with him. Unlike previous US counterterror officials, Brennan does not share Israel’s understanding of Middle Eastern terrorism.

Brennan’s outlook on this subject was revealed in a speech he gave two years ago in Washington. In that speech Brennan spoke dreamily about Hezbollah. As he put it, “Hezbollah is a very interesting organization.” He claimed it had evolved from a “purely terrorist organization” to a militia and then into an organization with members in Lebanon’s parliament and serving in Lebanon’s cabinet.

Brennan continued, “There is certainly the elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern for us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements.”

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